BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits

$7.74 recipe / $1.94 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.84 from 25 votes
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It’s officially cozy comfort food time! These BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits are the perfect mix of tangy BBQ sauce, juicy meatballs, and rich and creamy cheese grits to create all those cozy vibes. And if you’ve never had cheese grits before, definitely go check out my cheese grits blog post because they’re a delicious southern staple that can be topped with all sorts of delicious goodies. And today’s delicious goodies are BBQ meatballs. ;)

Overhead view of a bowl of cheese grits with bbq meatballs and collard greens

What to Serve with BBQ Meatballs and Cheese Grits

This is a pretty rich bowl of deliciousness on its own, so I highly suggest pairing it with something green to balance out the weight of the meal. I paired my BBQ Meatballs and Cheese Grits with Jerk Seasoned Collard Greens. The jerk seasoning pairs perfectly with the tangy BBQ sauce. You could also pair this dish with Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Vegetarian Mustard Greens, or Braised Red Cabbage.

Can I Use a Different Meat?

Yes, if you do not eat pork you can definitely substitute with a different type of ground meat. Ground beef or turkey will both work great for this recipe. I highly suggest using ground meat that has a slightly higher percent fat to keep the meatballs moist and tender.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce Do you Suggest?

I’m an equal opportunity BBQ sauce lover, so I don’t really have a favorite. For this particular dish, I’d probably go for something smoky or honey flavored, both of which will pair well with the cheddar cheese in the grits. I would probably avoid anything pineapple or teriyaki flavored.

If you want to try making your own BBQ sauce, check out my Homemade BBQ Sauce recipe.

A fork cutting into a bbq meatball on a bed of cheese grits
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BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits

4.84 from 25 votes
BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits is the perfect cozy meal for crisp fall evenings, football games, and afternoons spent raking leaves.
Overhead view of a bowl of cheese grits with bbq meatballs and collard greens
Servings 4
Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 40 mins

Ingredients

BBQ Meatballs

  • 1 lb. ground pork ($3.49)
  • 1 large egg ($0.21)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs ($0.07)
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce, divided ($0.54)
  • 1/2 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)

Cheese Grits

  • 2 cups chicken broth ($0.26)
  • 2 cups milk ($1.25)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
  • 1 cup quick cooking grits ($0.49)
  • 1/4 tsp salt ($0.02)
  • 2 Tbsp butter ($0.18)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper ($0.02)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar ($1.15)

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the ground pork, egg, breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce, salt, smoked paprika, and garlic powder to a bowl. Use your hands to mix the seasoning into the pork until everything is well combined.
  • Divide and shape the pork mixture into 16 meatballs about the size of ping pong balls. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Transfer the meatballs to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  • While the meatballs are baking, prepare the cheese grits. Combine the chicken broth, milk, and garlic powder in a medium saucepot. Place a lid on top and bring it up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching.
  • Once boiling, stir in the quick cooking grits and salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the grits simmer for about 5 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the grits from the heat and stir in the butter and pepper. Next, stir in the shredded cheddar, one handful at a time, until fully melted into the grits.
  • Once the meatballs have finished baking, add them to a clean bowl and pour the remaining BBQ sauce over top. Stir to combine. The heat from the meatballs will warm the BBQ sauce. If your BBQ sauce is cold from refrigeration, you may want to heat the meatballs and sauce in a saucepot over low for a few minutes.
  • To serve, place about one cup of the cheese grits in the bottom of a bowl. Top with four meatballs and some of the BBQ sauce. Enjoy!

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Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 841kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 37gFat: 46gSodium: 2010mgFiber: 3g
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side view of bbq meatballs and cheese grits in a bowl with collard greens

How to Make BBQ Meatballs with Cheese Grits – Step by Step Photos

meatball ingredients in a bowl

Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add 1 lb. ground pork, 1 large egg, ¼ cup breadcrumbs, 2 Tbsp BBQ sauce, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper to a large bowl. Mix the ingredients together until well combined.

raw, shaped meatballs on the baking sheet

Divide and shape the pork mixture into 16 meatballs roughly the size of ping pong balls. Transfer the meatballs to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and cooked through.

Milk being poured into a pot with chicken broth

While the meatballs are baking, prepare the cheese grits. Add 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups milk, and ¼ tsp garlic powder to a medium sauce pot. Bring the liquid up to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

grits being poured into the pot with the milk and broth

As soon as the liquid reaches a boil, stir in 1 cup quick cooking grits and ¼ tsp salt. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let the grits simmer for about five minutes, or until thickened.

butter and pepper added to the grits

Remove the grits from the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp butter and ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper.

Shredded cheddar being added to grits

Finally, stir in a handful of the shredded cheddar at a time until fully melted, repeating until all of the cheese has been added (1 cup total).

Baked meatballs on the baking sheet

Remove the baked meatballs from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl.

BBQ sauce coated meatballs in a bowl with a spatula

Pour the remaining BBQ sauce (about 1 cup) over the meatballs and stir to combine. The heat from the meatballs will warm the BBQ sauce. If your BBQ sauce was cold from refrigeration, you may want to do this in a sauce pot over low heat to help heat the sauce.

close up side view of bbq meatballs on cheese grits

To serve, place about 1 cup cheese grits in a bowl and top with 4 meatballs plus some of the sauce. Enjoy!

TRY THESE OTHER MEATBALL RECIPES:

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Comments

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  1. I only have regular grits, not quick-cooking. Do I need to make any changes, aside from the grits taking longer to cook?

    1. Hi, Heather! Since the grits cook separately, you shouldn’t need to make any adjustments other than cooking them longer. Consult the package instructions for a recommended cook time — and then continue to follow the recipe as written. ~Marion :)

    1. Hi, Polly! I imagine both would freeze well separately, but not together. ~Marion :)

  2. This was AWESOME!!! I told everyone about it & how they should definitely try it! We will put this on our weekly rotation 😊

  3. Could you do this with polenta? I know it takes a little longer to cook. That’s what I’ve got in fridge.

      1. Since I’m using polenta, would I still use the chicken broth and milk as mentioned in the recipe? Thanks, Monti.

  4. Wow! I love this recipe! I’ve made it twice in the last two weeks! Its really simple and tastes so, so good. I made it with brussels on the side each time and I ended up making some for my sister and her husband and they love it too! So simple and fast to make. I love when I find something that tastes this good and is so simple to make….Thank you so much! So many variations you can do makes this even better. Its one of my favorites.

  5. I only made the meatballs, subbed beef, they are excellent. I will make them again, next time with the cheese grits!

  6. This is such a wonderful recipe. I ran out of milk, what would be a good substitute, like heavy whipping cream or plant based milk? 

    1. I feel like heavy whipping cream would be too thick for the grits, but I’ve never tried a plant-based milk in cheddar grits, so I’m not sure how that would play out.

  7. One of the best, easiest, quickiest meals for a busy family. I’m literally eating the grits out of the pan!